With the entrenchment of MSX and Dermo disease in Chesapeake Bay, particularly in Virginia's high salinity waters, researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) began exploring the potential of another non-indigenous species, the Asian oyster Crassostrea ariakensis, that gave indications of disease resistance.
VIMS researchers undertook controlled studies by spawning larvae in the hatchery and rendering them infertile so that they could not reproduce on reaching adult size. Field trials were initially conducted at low, medium and high salinity sites between June 1998 and September 1999; researchers compared survival, growth and disease susceptibility between triploid C. ariakensis and diploid (fertile) C. virginica, the native oyster. At low salnity sites, for example, mortality of C. ariakensis was 14% compared with 81% for C. virginica. At medium and high salinity sites, mortaltiy of C. ariakensis was under 15% compared with the death of all C. virginica. For details see Calvo et al. 1999, Calvo et al. 2000, Calvo et al. 2001.
While the success of C. ariakensis in resisting disease offers prospects for rebuilding Bay oyster fisheries through aquaculture, there are significant concerns and objections over the introduction of a non-native species. To inform Bay stakeholders about current knowledge on C. ariakensis studies and to discuss critical issues of importing a non-native species, VIMS organized a symposium on the Aquaculture of Triploid Crassostrea ariakensis in Chesapeake Bay, October 18-19, 2002. Hallerman et al. 2002 is a summary of that symposium.
Since the symposium, a number of institutions and organizations have issued position statements on the introduction of C. ariakensis into Chesapeake Bay. These include the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) and Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). In 2004, the National Research Council of the National Academy published the results of its year-long study, Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
Hallerman, E., M. Leffler, S. Mills and S. Allen. 2002. Aquaculture of Triploid C. ariakensis in Chesapeake Bay: A Symposium Report. Maryland Publication UM-SG-TS-2002-01, Virginia Publication VSG-02-03. [pdf]
Calvo, G.W., M.W. Luckenbach, S.K. Allen, Jr., and E.M. Burreson. 1999. Comparative field study of Crassostrea gigas and Crassostrea virginica in relation to salinity in Virginia. J. Shellfish. Res. 18: 465-473.
Calvo, G.W., M.W. Luckenbach, S.K. Allen, Jr. and E.M. Burreson. 2000. A Comparative Field Study of C. ariakensis and Crassostrea virginica in Relation to Salinity in Virginia. Special Report in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering No. 360. Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Calvo, G.W., M.W. Luckenbach, S.K. Allen, Jr. and E.M. Burreson. 2001. A Comparative Field Study of C. ariakensis and Crassostrea virginica in Relation to Salinity in Virginia. J. Shellfish. Res. 20: 221-229.
Dew, J., J. Berkson, E. Hallerman. 2001. A Risk Assessment Simulation Model for Culture of Triploid C. ariakensis in the Chesapeake Bay. Version CD-ROM. Virginia Sea Grant VSG-01-12.
Chesapeake Bay Program
Comprehensive Oyster Plan
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Non-Native Oysters: Crassostrea ariakensis
NOAA Aquacaulture Information Center
Published Research and Related Internet Locations on the Asian Oyster, Crassostrea ariakensis
Integration & Application Network
Crassostrea ariakensis: Panacea or Pandora?
March 2004 Newsletter (pdf)